There is a benefit to having a community population of more than 5,000 — albeit a small one.
The Town of Osoyoos — which learned early last year its population had crept above the 5,000 mark, making it responsible for increased policing costs — will share in $51 million in Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant funding, the province announced late last week.
The Town will receive $16,828 in traffic-fine funding — an amount that does little to put a dent in the additional $577,000 in local policing costs.
The Town will also receive $491,574 in Small Community funding, for a total of $508,402 in provincial grants.
Earlier this year, the Town inked an RCMP contract that pushes its annual policing costs to $953,000 from $376,000.
The contract requires the Town to pay for five RCMP officers, with the Province picking up the tab for a further three members.
Next year, the Town’s costs will increase even more, with the addition of a ninth member to the detachment.
The Small Community Grants aid communities with populations of fewer than 20,000. The program provides unconditional grants, enabling local governments to spend the funding according to their needs.
The money is generally spent on varied infrastructure projects, such as water and sewer upgrades, police resources and staffing, and public safety programs.
In total, BC’s local governments will receive approximately $108 million in shared funding from the provincial government to support local services and projects through the two programs.
The Town of Oliver received $517,042 in small community funding. Although it did not receive any traffic-fine funding, it still will garner about $9,000 more than the Town of Osoyoos.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will receive $160,000.
According to the provincial government, since 2009, people in British Columbia have benefited from more than $1.1 billion in funding from the grant programs.
A 2016 census pegs the Town’s population at 5,085.